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LG G4 review – mobileFreq
mobileFreq

Over the past few weeks I’ve actually been playing with not one, but TWO top-tier devices.  One by HTC and another by LG.  I’ve really wanted to step my review-game up and today I’m kicking off with the LG G4.  Let’s take a look at LG’s offering and see how the LG G4 fairs under scrutiny.

Design

Ah the LG G4.  It is an absolute beaut of a device.  Between this and the Samsung S6 Edge, the LG G4 may win “best aesthetics” for 2015.  Seriously it looks great.

The angular shapes on the back subtly glisten and reflect light in different directions reminding you that it isn’t a soulless piece of hardware.

I fell in love with LG’s design philosophy when I played with the G3 back in January and they made the G4 even better.  The word that best describes the LG G4 is suave.  There are barely any distractions.  It is simple.  It is just a cool device.

The power and volume buttons on the back are incredibly ergonomic and have a nice ‘click’ for feedback.  The LG G4 is the only device I can think of that allows you to take a screenshot with just one hand.  One of the best features of the G4.LG G4 design

One thing that I didn’t enjoy about the G3 was that is was sort of “sharp” on the sides.  It became uncomfortable to hold for extended periods of time.  Somehow they made the LG G4 easier to hold despite it being bigger.  The increased thickness along with a more contour back help it sit well in your hand.

Speaking of the back, the LG G4 battery cover is replaceable.  If you aren’t into the metal or ceramic look, you can easily swap out the cover for a leather one.  There is a straight brown option and a perforated black leather option that is quite dapper.

If there was an option to get a real, actual metal back cover I’d fall in love with LG.

On the front is a gorgeous 1440p display.  When it is turned off the G4 is a solid black slab of glass.  It looks nice.  I appreciate how they managed to keep just their logo on the front and free of carrier branding.

Overall I highly recommend the LG G4 for its design.

Battery

It’s a two-way street with the LG G4 battery.  Let’s start on a low and end on a high.

The “low” is that the battery doesn’t last as long as other devices.  This was an issue with the G3 due to that big 1440p display sucking the battery dry along with a processor that wasn’t quite up to the challenge of powering it.  It also got hot.  Fast.

However, LG’s 3,000mAh battery lasts longer on the G4 despite my usage being about the same as it was back in January.  The LG G4 got me through the day and I never worried about charging it like the G3.

LG G4 battery

The absolute best aspect of the LG G4 battery is that it can be taken out.  Yup, you can pop out a drained G4 battery midway through the day and put a new one in.  Instantly back at 100%.  No turbo charger needed.

I recommend the LG G4 for its removable battery as it is one of the only super phones of 2015 that has this feature.  However, if you want a device that has a longer stock battery you might wan to look elsewhere.

Camera

This is hands down the reason you buy the LG G4.  The camera is amazing.

It is fast.

It is accurate.

It is simple.

It is complex.

The LG G4 camera has only what you need, but also everything you need.  You can choose to simply point, touch, and take. If you are feeling more adventurous, the camera has settings that you would expect to find on a DSLR.

I love the camera.  It put a wide cheeky grin on my face every time I used it.  I saw detail that had been absent from earlier devices.  I really can’t find a complaint here.  It is just that good.

The LG G4 camera is paired with a dual-LED flash and laser autofocus.  The G4 will focus on an object before you even realize it.

LG G4 corn

LG G4 HDR setting

When I was going for a walk, I stopped to take a picture of the corn field next to me.  It is probably my favorite picture that I’ve taken with the LG G4.  The sun glare wasn’t that bad, the corn stalks were a nice rich green, and the clouds were full of detail.  This picture was taken with only the HDR setting.

For more pictures at full resolution with all the camera data, please check out the LG G4 pictures on flickr.

Software/features

LG G4 lockscreenLast year LG started the “Simple is the New Smart” marketing campaign with the G3 and it was met with mixed reviews.  Some thought it was a step in the right direction while others thought they could have done more.

I was one of those who favored the new android skin that LG applied.  It was refreshing and seemed like they were trying to move away from being, “just another Samsung knock-off”.

LG made the G4 even easier to use.  I think if you are someone who has never used android before you will be very satisfied with the experience on the LG G4.  The LG user interface is pretty straightforward in my opinion.

If you are already familiar with android then it will be nothing new and you’ll know exactly where everything is.  You may feel like they made it “too simple”, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

If you are a disciple of the Nexus, we already know your stance.

I really like the LG clock and weather widget.  A lot.  I like it so much that it now trumps HTC’s offering.

LG G4 weather widget

I also love the quick settings in the notification tab on the LG G4.  Sony is still the standard at number one, but LG stands strong at number two followed by HTC at number three.  I like the circles, I like the animations, and I like how much you can scale it back to a menu that is incredibly simple.

The only thing I really wish that LG could have added to the G4 was some sort of native screen recording.  I don’t want to download something from the Play Store.  If I long-press the power button on my Sony Z3v I get an option to screen record.  This would be a great extra for the G4.

Personally I’m also not a huge fan of the Smart Notices.  It’s not that I don’t like them, I just found myself never actually using them.  More times than not I kept opening up Google Now instead.

Specs

Like most of you know, I hate to flood people with specs because I feel like it can become overwhelming.  So let’s keep the recap simple…for LG.

Hexa-core processor: Will it be able to handle gaming and most day-to-day tasks on the 1440p screen?  Yes.

3GB of RAM: Will it be able to multitask and handle intensive gaming?  It does.  I did not notice any stutters.

32GB of storage with SD card slot:  Can I actually keep a hard copy of all my songs and take a ton of photos?  You betcha.  Long live the SD card.

3,000mAh battery:  Will it get me through the day?  If you are among the group of “average” users, yes.  If you are a power user, maybe not, but pack an extra battery!

Gorilla Glass 3:  Is the screen durable?  In most use-cases, yes.  If you are a bit…rough…get a case.

Micro-SIM: Do I need a new SIM card?  Chances are no!  Only a few phones are using Nano-SIM and the LG G4 is not one of them.  If you are coming from an iPhone, then maybe.

16MP camera with a 1/2.6″ sensor:  Will it take stunning photos?  A thousand times yes.  The camera is sharp and the sensor is bigger than most phones.

Android 5.1:  Can I expect to stay up-to-date?  At the time of this review the US version is running Lollipop, but LG is already rolling out 6.0 Marshmallow to the G4 around the world.  I’d say probably.

For more in-depth specs, check out GSMArena.com

My least favorite thing about the LG G4 is…

…that there is a single speaker.  As a music junkie I love having stereo speakers.  Ever since my HTC One M7, and now my Sony Z3v, I have been spoiled with great sounding audio from my devices.  I really wish they had figured out a way to add a bottom front-facing speaker because watching videos or listening to music would be infinitely better.  Darn.

My favorite thing about the LG G4 is…

…that camera.  I cannot say enough good things about the camera.  The G4’s camera just makes me happy.  Every single time I take a picture I know it is going to turn out well.  From low-light moments to hectic sceneries, the LG G4 handles everything like a champ.

A close second is that the G4 has an SD card slot with a removable battery.  It’s literally the only super phone on market that has these combined features.

LG G4 mobileFreq review

It’s October 15th, would you buy the LG G4?

Heck yeah!  It’s a great device!  You can probably find a pretty good deal on it too since it’s been a few months since release.  Honestly I’m thinking about being bold and ranking the LG G4 as “Smartphone of the year: 2015”.

 

Recent Penn State grad who loves all things mobile. Has a knack for teaching and enjoys a bit of alliteration.

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